- The initiative helps ensure participants’ success by allowing them to take part in exhibitions and access consultations with experts.
The Saud Bin Saqr Establishment for Youth Enterprise Development (RAK SME) has launched the ‘Ask and We Will Answer’ initiative, which offers answers on all marketing and financial matters for owners of small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) who are members of the Establishment in an open clinic setting.
The initiative is in line with the notable role that RAK SME plays in developing young people’s projects in the Emirate, shedding light on the challenges some SME owners face that stall their growth, and providing them with solutions to address them.
Members of RAK SME were invited to two different clinics where they can ask their questions: one for marketing issues, led by Ismail Hashmi, Marketing Management Expert at the RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the other for financial matters, led by Moza Al-Shehhi of the Chamber’s Finance Department.
RAK SME Director Mariam Al Keebali said: “The Saud Bin Saqr Establishment for Youth Enterprise Development is committed to working closely with startup owners even after they launch their projects, in order to monitor every obstacle they may face and work to resolve their challenges. To that end, we communicate with all relevant local authorities, consult with experts in marketing and finance, and set up periodic meetings with SME owners. Small and medium-sized enterprises are a top priority for our leadership and policymakers, given the significant role these projects can play in achieving strategic economic and social objectives.”
“UAE citizens have tremendous potential; all that is needed is to promote a culture of entrepreneurship in the community, empowering them to be a driving force in the country’s economy, and establish promising SMEs in the private sector,” Al Keebali added. “Our role at RAK SME goes far beyond registering members’ requests for projects; we continue to support SME owners, helping them secure marketing channels to sustain their projects and make profits, in collaboration with all relevant authorities in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. We also organize workshops on a regular basis to educate them about the importance of marketing and product development.”
For his part, by Ismail Hashmi, Marketing Management Expert at the RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry, flagged several weaknesses among members, including the lack of a marketing culture among them – and particularly the smaller companies. “The initiative to launch this workshop was driven by our realization that there is a need to promote marketing concepts and theory and implement them on the ground,” he said. “SMEs need marketing much more than larger companies. However, many of them cannot afford marketing and promotion expenses, and this is where the Saud Bin Saqr Establishment for Youth Enterprise Development comes in, offering its members prominent marketing platform at the major exhibitions it organizes, which are promotional in nature.”
“Marketing is essential tool for the survival and advancement of small and medium-sized enterprises, especially when considering the significant role they play. SME owners and entrepreneurs must familiarize themselves with marketing concepts and practices, and implement the latest tactics to ensure their ventures remain competitive and continue to achieve success and prosperity,” Hashmi explained, proposing a set of ideas that can help SME owners and entrepreneurs market their product, such as providing the best, highest-quality service or product to existing customers, who are easy to identify and reach; remaining attentive to the needs of the people who already know and trust their business, and committing to ensuring customer satisfaction.
SME owners were also advised to research common practices in their field and identify what their competitors spend and what they offer – through a simple preliminary study through social media and online platforms about products and prices – based on which they can then provide top-quality alternatives at a lower price.
“Online marketing is not only among the least expensive platforms, but it also allows products and services to reach larger markets and audiences through videos, newsletters, posts, and brochures,” Hashmi clarified. “This, in turn, provides an inexpensive, 24/7 virtual interface, which helps increase the number of page visits and product sales.”